"Chuck" already has a huge online fanbase. Now, NBC is hoping to harness the power of the nerd masses to help hype the show's return.
The network tonight is launching "Mission: Chuck Me Out." a social media-based game in which Chuckaholics can win prizes and other rewards by spreading the gospel according to Bartowski.
Using the already existing Chuckmeout.com site, fans can sign up their Twitter, Facebook and MySpace campaign for the game. Then, every time they preach "Chuck" or get friends to watch a clip of the show or otherwise pimp the series, they'll earn points.
Fans with the most point each week between now and March 8 will win "Chuck" gift packs which include goodies such as signed DVDs. The grand prize winner with the most points at the end of the game-- we're already betting Newark Star-Ledger TV critic Alan Sepinwall will be said superfan-- will have their photo featured during one of Mr. Bartowski's on-air memory "flashes."
"'The fans of 'Chuck' have been incredibly passionate and supportive of the show," said Adam Stotsky, president of NBC Entertainment marketing. "We want to reward this loyalty and activate further social conversation about the incredible new season."
"Chuck" has had a particularly strong relationship with its fan base.
When it seemed as if NBC might not bring the show back for a third season, the online Nerd Herd rallied to prove their economic power by organizing an effort to get fans to stop by Subway on the same day.
Subway saw a sales spike and ultimately signed on for a significant product integration deal credited with helping the Peacock opt to renew "Chuck."
TV critics and writers also rallied behind "Chuck." In addition to traditional "save this show" columns, several notable critics (and this reporter) changed their Twitter avatars to show their professional affection for the series.
Networks are increasingly turning to social media-based games to help promote their shows.
Over the summer, for example, Fox gave "Glee" diehards a chance to rack up points by singing the praises of the musical dramedy. And NBC helped pump "Community" by offering viewers a chance to watch the pilot early by talking up the show to their online buddies.
"Chuck" returns with a two-hour premiere on Sunday, Jan. 10 and moves back to its 8 p.m. Monday slot Jan. 11.